A Google employee recently wrote a 10-page document criticizing his employer's pro-diversity initiatives, and that document caused a stir after it went viral over the weekend. Many on the right have praised it, and one company even offered its author a job. But make no mistake: the Google anti-diversity manifesto contains some absurd quotes. Ultimately, Google fired the employee after he wrote it and sent it out.
The screed — which the company itself has disowned and criticized — presents itself as a level-headed, non-ideological assessment of workplace culture, complete with footnotes and sentences like, "psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance." But beneath that linguistic elegance are precisely the same arguments the right has been using for years to discredit feminism. Those arguments, like the bulk of the Google manifesto, rely on a combination of factually unsupported claims about gender and the equally-ungrounded belief that things are already basically fair between genders, so any further social tinkering is tantamount to "discrimination."
The conservative-minded social network Gab.ai called the manifesto a "beautiful work of art" (strange, as it's not intended as art), and offered the author a job at the company. That's thoroughly unsurprising, as this document is a perfect distillation of how the far-right movement views things like feminism, diversity and other priorities of the progressive movement.
Here are some of the most concerning quotes from the document:
This is one of many claims that the author makes to support the argument that biological differences between men and women — not institutionalized sexism — explains the underrepresentation of women in Google's higher ranks. However, he presents absolutely no evidence to back it up, which is a trend throughout the document.
On The Gender Wage Gap
Here, the author is attempting to create a causal link between pro-diversity policies at Google and 20th-century communist governments. That's the kind of thing you might do if you wanted to create a negative association with pro-diversity initiatives by linking them to something most people already don't like. However, this historical analysis has nothing to do with Google's hiring practices.
Do they? Well, if you say so!
On The Desire For High-Paying Jobs
This section might look innocuous, but it's actually quite sneaky. The suggestion here is that men end up in leadership roles at Google more often than women because men simply want those jobs more.
On Work-Life Balance
The only way to know would be to look at some sort of study, survey, or academic research on the matter. The manifesto offers nothing of the sort.
No, it is not. It's a bit absurd that this needs to be said, but having a high-paying job is a good and desirable thing, while being homeless or dying at work is a bad, undesirable thing.
On Spending Habits
It's hard to know where to begin with this. No, women don't get paid as much as men for the same work. They get paid less. No, there's no evidence that "women spend more money than men," and there's even less evidence that higher salaries are correlated with harder work, more effort, or increased stress. In fact, there's evidence that people who grow up in stressful environments earn less money when they're older — which, of course, causes additional stress.
This argument, like many in the document, relies on the belief that things are already equitable in the world, and any attempt to alleviate the unique challenges that certain groups of people face is fundamentally unfair. That isn't true.
On Being Agreeable
This passage, in addition to being a completely evidence-free claim, ignores the possibility that maybe, women are agreeable and gregarious because being disagreeable at work hinders a woman's opportunities for advancement. Unlike the author's assertion, the latter idea is actually backed up by research.
On Protecting Women
The fact that one in three women have been physically abused by a partner, that a woman is beaten in the United States every nine seconds of every day, and that an estimated one in five women has been raped would seem to suggest that no, humans are not biased towards protecting women.
In totality, this document is essentially a 10-page denial that misogyny is a problem. Any difficulties women face at work, the argument goes, are the result of their biology. That's a pretty extreme claim, and extreme claims require at least some bit of evidence. The author presents none at all. Despite the flowery language, the anti-diversity manifesto is intellectually bereft, and not to be taken as factual whatsoever.